I received a letter in response today from the Speaker in regards to my queries about how the Parliamentary expenditure rules apply to the spunky new car that Rodney Hide has gotten himself. Her reply is as follows:
7 December 2005Dear …
I refer to your email from 1 December 2005 asking “…is using the parliamentary crest without the permission of the Speaker a breach of parliamentary spending rules?”
Current requirements are that if members of Parliament use their member’s support allocation or parliamentary party leader’s office funding to advertise their services or activities on parliamentary business, that advertising material must display the parliamentary crest and include contact details.
Advertising is defined as advertisements or information relating to the member’s or parliamentary political party’s activities when engaged on parliamentary business and includes, among other things, signage, such as that displayed on electorate offices, billboards, and member’s vehicles.
On occasions, members pay the costs of advertising that meets the definition of parliamentary business personally. Current practice is that members may use the parliamentary crest in their correspondence, communication or advertising without seeking the express permission of the Speaker, provided that the correspondence, communication or advertising relates to parliamentary business.
If you wish to obtain information on this matter in the future, please contact the Office of the General Manager, Parliamentary Service, 04 471-9435.
Hon Margaret Wilson MP
So, it seems that what he did was legit in regards to the rules. But I would argue that the rules are a bit iffy. I think it’s a bit dodgy that people cannot tell by that Crest if parliamentary money has gone towards their thing (whatever it may be). So I ask how is the public able to hold politicians accountable for the appropriate spending of their money?
Hmm, what do other people think? Is this worth caring about?